Summer rainy, summer cod crazy
  |  First Published: December 2016

All winter and spring I’ve been writing about the rain in my fishing reports. Early in October and without warning, the rain stopped. It stopped dead – we’ve barely had a drop since I typed my last report. This is fantastic news for us anglers, because the early to mid spring rainfall has provided fantastic Murray cod spawning conditions with the floodwater, but the floodwater should subside in time for the opening of the Murray cod season.

This spring has seen some of the best trout fishing for a number of years. I believe this has been the best trout season we’ve had since 2001, which was the year that followed months of flooding rain. I seem to be catching trout further down in streams than I have in recent years. I’m catching more of them and larger fish.

The King River upstream of Lake William Hovell has been fishing pretty well. Downstream of the lake, trout fishing has been quite poor with a few trout turning up close to the lake, but that’s about it. The Rose River has been patchy, but quite a few trout have been caught there with some of the brown trout pushing well into the 40cm mark. I’ve had reports of good trout fishing in sections of the middle stretches of the river using bladed spinners.

The Ovens River itself has been quite consistent upstream of Bright. I haven’t heard any really flash reports, but quite a number of reports are of one or two trout caught by both lure and flyfishers. Recently, the Ovens River was still carrying a lot of water, so it should stay in tip-top shape up until Christmas at least.

Murray cod season opens on 1 December, which is a Thursday this year. I sent in my application for annual leave at work! It’s very hard to say what the river conditions in the Wangaratta area will be like exactly, but one thing is for sure, they won’t be at drought levels.

If the recent dry spell continues this month, the Ovens and King rivers should both be in really good shape. They’re still higher than usual for this time of the year and are settling nicely. If we get too much rain, that could all turn pair shaped! I’m worried about this, as I’ve seen it too often – big rainfall at the start of cod opening can turn the rivers to slop. Hopefully that doesn’t happen this year.

Anybody heading to Wangaratta to fish the Ovens River this year should find very good fishing anywhere along the river. I often get asked where the best spots are in Wangaratta. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter. Cod are everywhere, under almost every snag. It’s just a matter of finding one that’s hungry and willing to hit your lure, or take your bait.

Every season plenty of Murray cod are caught right in the middle of Wangaratta. Even people bait fishing or lure casting in the two popular swimming areas catch cod off the bank. The North Beaches, the Sydney Beach and the Junction sand bar all produce cod every single season. There’s really no better place. In the words of Will Martin, “It’s all good.”

Good luck on the water this December. I hope Murray cod season is great to us all, and remember that Murray cod are subject to very strict size and bag limits, so make sure you know the rules before you hit the water.


A typical sized Murray cod from the Wangaratta area caught on a number one StumpJumper. You don’t need to travel far from Wangaratta to find Murray cod.


A small brown trout caught this spring on a new Strike Tiger Pro Series soft plastic nymph in stealth tiger colour. The streams have been fishing very well this spring.


Murray cod season opens on 1 December. Remember to make sure you’re up to speed with the current rules and regulations as fisheries officers are never far away on the Ovens River.


A lovely brown trout caught on a Rooster Tail bladed spinner in a tributary of the King River.

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